The awards season

Farm Forum

The awards season is again upon us, an annual rite that takes place during approximately twelve months of each year. There are so many awards shows, a person would need a scorecard to keep track of them all.

For instance, there are the Golden Globe Awards, which have nothing to do with scrumptious cantaloupes or yummy apples. So much for truth in advertising!

Then there are the People’s Choice Awards. Even though this accolade has been around for several decades, not once have I been asked to choose the people getting the awards! Again with the false advertising!

Somewhere in this confusing collection of celebratory ceremonies are awards known by such names as Oscar and Emmy. I had a great-uncle named Oscar whose farmstead was known for its tidiness. This makes me think that Oscar statuettes are awarded only to very fastidious people. And we had a neighbor lady named Emma who was renowned for her lemon meringue pie, which must mean that Emmy winners are a little sweet and a little tart and are covered with puffy fluff.

The most famous of these award programs is a strange spectacle that’s held on the bizarre planet known as Hollywood. Sparkling starlets take their turns on the red carpet, showing off the latest in haute couture design. Look for that silvery, sequined floor-length number next week at your local K-Mart!

Many of us are never formally recognized for our acting abilities even though the vast majority of humans turn in star performances on a daily basis.

We generally get started in show biz at an early age. It’s easy for a budding young actor or actress to find his or her motivation. How many 8-year-olds have used their theatrical skills to convince the powers that be that they were at death’s door on the morning of a big arithmetic test?

And that’s just for starters. By the time a child has attained driving age, he or she can deliver an Academy Award-type dramatization at a moment’s notice. Teenagers can be deeply motivated when it comes to convincing Mom and Dad that they really, REALLY need the car tonight!

As riveting as such performances might be, they pale in comparison to the drama that took place when I was growing up on our dairy farm.

The scene is our farmstead on a sweltering summer day. Two weary-looking adults and eight kids of varying ages sprawl on the lawn as they take a lemonade break in the shade of a mighty ash tree.

The afternoon matinee opens with Dad posing a question. “Who’s going to unload that flatbed of hay bales?” he says, directing the query at nobody in particular.

The younger kids smirk, realizing that they are off the hook. One of the smaller youngsters kick-starts the drama by chirping, “I would help, but the bales are almost as heavy as me. I tried to lift one yesterday and my back legs came right off the ground!”

The audience and the players wonder: Whom among the older kids will get stuck with this onerous task? It all depends on who can spin the best yarn and deliver it with the most verve.

One of the job candidates chimes in from stage left.

“I would love to do it, I really would,” he says in a tone that’s so solemn it would make a funeral director seem like a court jester. “But I’m getting blisters on my palms from just thinking about it!”

He pauses a beat before adding, “And I think that I sprained one of my earlobes this morning!” Wiping away an invisible tear and in a voice freighted with heartrending emotion he concludes, “You’ll just have to go on without me! Curse the gods who afflicted me with such ill fortune!”

Another prospective bale mover and shaker rises from the audience and shuffles into the spotlight.

“I think that everyone here knows that nobody appreciates the art of hard physical labor more than me,” he begins, pulling a hanky from his pocket and wiping his brow with a dramatic flourish. “But – darn my star-crossed luck! — my schedule simply won’t allow me to participate in this afternoon’s bale throwing and stacking event! I have sorely neglected my hobby – a thorough survey of my umbilicus — and it’s been eons since I’ve attended to my toenails! Oh, how I would love to help! But thus are the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune!”

Such talent, such a command of the material! Bravo! And the winner is…

“Enough!” exclaims Dad. “The sooner the two of you get started on those bales, the sooner you’ll finish!”

If you’d like to contact Jerry to do some public speaking, or just to register your comments, you can e-mail him at: